Monday, February 28, 2011

In Praise of Slow Dogs

After the thunderstorm last night, Sam was very reluctant to go outside. First, it was damp out there. Second, there had recently been thunder out there. I tried to get him out the back door with no success. Finally, I was able to coax him out the front door. I went about my business for a few minutes, expecting him to be back at the door immediately begging to be let in, but he didn't come to the door.




After a while, I was both curious and a little concerned. I stood at the door and looked for him, but I didn't want to call him because I was hoping he was at long last relieving himself. As I waited, I watched the rain water flowing down one side of the street like a little stream. I noticed the raindrops clinging to the maple tree like bright little decorations and I saw the swelling buds on the tips of the tree. I heard the birds chattering to each other -- a cardinal and a mourning dove and some others I didn't recognize. As I stood there, waiting for Sam, I had a moment of peace.




Finally, I opened the storm door and called him. No answer. I stepped out and looked around the yard. He wasn't there. I walked down the walk anxiously. Jeff had left the garage door open. Mystery solved. Sam had tolerated the wet outdoors just long enough to walk down the front walk, urinated in the garage, and then pushed the back door open and went back into the house through the laundry room. What a wimp! He had been in the house the whole time.
Here is a picture of my little sleeping cat votive candle holder with a votive candle in it. It sits on my desk while I work.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Serious Progress

Today's good thing is more of a health bulletin. I went to the doctor yesterday and he sort of fussed at me for not keeping up with my blood sugars. A major reason for my surgery in December was to keep my Type 2 diabetes under control. Diabetes is what led to my Mom's death in September.



Well, I took a reading this morning and got a 98! That's perfectly normal. Before the surgery, I was averaging 140 first thing in the morning. So, it's working! I'm likely to be a healthier person!




More snow this morning, if you can believe it. It was only a light dusting, but I'm ready for spring. It rained so hard last night that there are flood warnings. I'm so glad the sump pump appears to be holding up and my basement/office isn't flooded.




My heart goes out to an Amish woman who tried to cross a stream in her buggy last night and it turned over. She lost four of her six children. God be with her.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Comfort Clothes

I'm just posting out of habit now. I don't have anything to say ...


video

Sam actually went out even though it's wet outside! I'm really glad he went because it may be his last chance for a while. We're supposed to get monsoon style rains over the next few days. That'll really improve my mood ...

Today's good things are slippers and bathrobes. You can't really beat them for comfort. And thank goodness I have a job that I can do in my slippers and bathrobe. Here's to you! ** raises cup of coffee in mock salute **

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pass

I'm just not into it today. Everything seems to be in an uproar -- Kate is fighting with a teacher at school, Ally is suddenly unsure of her path, Jeff fussed at me last night and I'm ... I'm ineffective, impotent ... inadequate. All I seem to able to do is to listen and provide a shoulder -- while Jeff is giving cogent advice, making plans, mustering the troops, and getting himself all worked up (and then yelling at me). No wonder they go to him with problems ... he doesn't just listen and then throw it back to them to solve.



Anyway, yesterday I took some pictures of my strawberry banana smoothie intending to be thankful that Georgette taught me how to make them. They're pretty tasty, go down well without irritating my stomach, and have lots of protein -- especially if you make them with Greek yogurt. They are good and I do thank Georgette for encouraging me to make them.



I'm also thankful that my dinner is already prepared. I threw a bunch of stuff in the crock pot and we're having New Brunswick Stew for supper. One less thing to think about.


I'm also glad I work from home so I can set my own schedule. It's 10:30 and I haven't done squat yet today. Come on coffee, kick in. This day has got to get better.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Taking Care of Baby

Poor Sam. Today's good thing is Erlanger Veterinary Hospital and the fine care Dr. Bette Vecchione gives him there. I hope she doesn't mind my putting her picture on my blog -- it's meant as a compliment.
Yesterday, I took him in for a regular check up ... although he's been in several times this year for a strange allergy that causes him to scratch his back almost raw. Not only did he need a cortizone shot for his allergy, but he also had an ear infection in his left ear and an infected anal gland. So, he's miserable from head to toe! Poor guy!
I think (hope) he's a little more comfortable now that we've started treatment. He's on antibiotics (he HATES taking pills) and I've got some lotion to put on his itchy back. I'm just so thankful that we could do something to help him feel better.
I finished the first sock of the Potomatus socks and started on the second one. I'm interested in seeing whether they really get softer after washing.
Speaking of wash, today is wash day. I've got loads in. I'm starting to notice that my clothes are really baggy. According to the scales, I've lost about 48 pounds. I guess I ought to start thinking about getting some new clothes.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Old Pictures

Today's good things are old pictures. Last Christmas (not this past Christmas, but a year ago!), I got a really nice digital picture frame that should hold a whole album of pictures. Unfortunately, I haven't taken the time to select and load pictures onto it.

This weekend I started to remedy that situation. I looked through a bunch of our old digital pictures and brought back a lot of old memories.

Here's a picture of the girls when we were in Wales one summer. We stayed at a small hotel that was actually a converted stone barn. The girls got to feed some baby lambs and run around the fields. It was a good time.




Here's a picture of baby Sam. In this picture he's about 5-6 months old. He's 10 now.




This is a picture of Ally and her cousin Mary Beth. This is one of my favorite pictures of them.




In addition to old pictures, we also have new pictures. Kate's 18th birthday party with her friends was a success. This year she had an Indian theme. She borrowed saris from a friend and had all the girls dress up in native garb, then they went to Guru -- a local Indian restaurant -- for dinner. The staff at Guru was apparently delighted with them and gave them a lot of special attention. Then they came home and watched "Bride and Prejudice," a Bollywood classic.
Here's a picture of Kate in her sari in front of the curtain of floating flowers we made as a decoration.




Saturday, February 19, 2011

Hot & Steamy Wrongness

Today's good things are hot showers ... no pictures :) ... and clean sheets. There's something extra luxurious about having a hot shower and then slipping into clean sheets ... something almost decadent.



As I was thinking about showers, I concluded that we are extra-lucky because showers are a relatively new invention. Wrong! I actually looked it up. Showers were invented by the Greeks at least by the 4th century B.C. , complete with indoor plumbing. Shows how much I know!



In another startling instance of "wrongness," I rejoiced this morning because my song sparrow had returned. I heard him singing outside my window and took it for another sign of spring. I look for this guy every year. He either nests in my yard or my neighbor's and sings so beautifully all summer.



Well, again, I looked it up. Song sparrows don't migrate in Kentucky. They're year round birds. So what's he been doing all winter? Slacking?



While I was surfing, I found a new way to drive the birds in my backyard crazy. Birdjam has bird songs available online and apparently the Northern Cardinal is on a loop. I've been playing it for about an hour and the cardinals outside are going nuts. They want to know who's the new bird in their territory.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Spring is Coming

Today's good thing is evidence that spring is actually coming. These are little shoots of daffodils poking their way up in my garden (and, yes, Annette, that is a little piece of rabbit poo to the right of the shot -- as you know, it's good fertilizer.)



It's been a rough six months and I, for one, will be very glad to put this season behind me and move on to a new chapter. On September 25th, my dear mother died. It was peaceful and not unexpected, but I'm not sure I've really had a chance to mourn yet. It hasn't sunk in. As my sister said, we just sort of pretend that she's still there in Lexington a phone call away. Here is a photo board from her funeral that shows her having fun in her later years.



Some of the most touching things from the funeral were these blown up pictures. The top one is of Mom taken on her honeymoon and the bottom is a note that was found behind it in Daddy's wallet. The note reads "I owe you 1,000,000,000 kisses. To be collected on June 20 and after." June 20th was their wedding day. Daddy carried that picture and note in his wallet for 57 years.

Of course, I'll never forget and I wouldn't want to. I want to move on though and rejoice in new life.




In December, I had surgery and was very sick for about six weeks. I'm ready to put that behind me too. Things are pretty much back on an even keel. I'm back at work full time and we've all returned to our normal routines. I DO want to forget about those six weeks and go on with my life.

So, here's to spring. Let it come.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A New Me ... Well, New Haircut Anyway

Today's good thing is going to the hair salon. My stylist, Jacquie, has been around since the girls were babies. She did my hair before she was married and she has three kids now -- one of them a teenager! When Jeff suggested a new "do" to go with my weight loss (45 pounds and counting), he obligingly printed out some hairstyle pictures from the Internet that he thought would look nice. Now, I know that most women would bridle at the idea of their husbands telling them about hairstyles, but I'm clueless and I appreciated the help. I took the pictures to Jacquie and she was able to consolidate them into a new look for me.


What do you think? I'll have to get used to the bangs on my forehead -- they feel sort of funny -- but I think they're flattering. I just hope that once I wash it, I'll be able to style it like Jacquie did!


That brings to mind another good thing about the hair salon: having your hair washed. It's so relaxing to have someone wash your hair for you and rub your scalp. It feels so luxurious.


Speaking of luxury and being spoiled, look at the way my Valentine roses are opening up. They get even more beautiful every day.


Last, but not least (what a cliche!), I was gratified to learn that Wendy Johnson of Wendy Knits agrees with me about the Wollmeise. She pointed out the same things that I've been noticing: (1) It's not very soft -- she described it as a cottony feel; (2) It kinks up a LOT; and (3) the plies split as you knit. Wollmeise lovers who responded to Wendy's post agreed that it kinks and splits but the colors are to die for and that makes it all worthwhile for them. Everyone also consistently reported that the yarn becomes much softer after it's washed -- so I have hope for my Potomatus socks.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Love Story

I'm two days late for Valentine's Day, but today's good thing is a love story. It begins in February of 1984 when Jeff took me to the Maisonette for dinner and presented me with a diamond engagement ring. The diamond had been in his family for two generations. Everyone at law school had to see it and exclaim over it.



Fast forward 24 years. Due to my weight, my wedding rings were too tight and mostly sat on the ring stand on my dresser. Then they were gone. I looked EVERYWHERE. I was afraid to say anything to Jeff until I had searched high and low. Then I was just afraid and ashamed. After all, this was a diamond that had been passed down to his mother from her beloved uncle and the wedding band that I was married with.



Finally, almost a year later, I admitted to Jeff that I had lost my engagement ring and wedding band ...



And he forgave me. In fact, he understood completely and never said a word of recrimination. Our 25th anniversary was coming up, so he said that we would just replace them for the occassion. We used his mother's engagement ring diamond and I got to choose the setting and we had the jewelers make up this diamond wedding band for us.



Every time I look at this ring (which I wear ALL the time), it reminds me of his love ... more even than the first one ... because this ring also symbolizes 25 years of living together and the ability to accept and forgive.



A few minutes ago, Jeff called to tell me that he made a mistake and that my credit card bill payment is one day late. I told him I'd take care of it today. As he rang off, he asked -- obviously embarassed about goofing up -- "Do you still love me?" What do you think I said?



On a less romantic note, I'm making progress on the Potomatus sock. I turned the heel (twice -- I had to pull it out once) and I'm doing the gusset now. The Woolmeise sock yarn is less luxurious than I expected for the price and it continues to be a little "splitty." I think my favorite is still Casbah.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Capturing Light

Today's good thing is my trusty camera. Photography is something I really enjoy. I'm not much of an artist, but I can capture a picture (sometimes) that evokes a mood or delights the eye. I've been told that I have a good eye for composition and I once even won a photography contest.



A couple of years ago, I got this Canon Rebel XS camera for my birthday. To be perfectly honest, it's so high end that I really don't know how to work all the buttons and whistles. But I can get some good shots just using the automatic functions. [Someday, I'll sit down and read the manual!]




For instance, I'm able to get some lovely shots of the valentine roses that Jeff brought for me and for Kate last night. He brought me a dozen white roses and for Kate a dozen lavender roses. Usually he brings red for me and pink for Kate, so he said he was switching it up this year. Not only did we get roses, but we also got chocolate! We were so spoiled!

I'm lucky that he's such a romantic guy and that he remembers things like Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Fifty-seven Degrees

The weather is finally getting warmer, the snow is melting, and yesterday was a delightful 57 degrees around here. I took Sunday afternoon to look after the rabbits and put them back in their outside hutches. Genny was in pretty good shape. Her fur is so silky and gorgeous. I think she was happy to be back outside and out of the smelly garage.





Andy, on the other hand, was a mess. For some reason over the past 6 months or so, he's become very prone to matting. He used to be the easy one to keep tidy. I gave him some Ivermectin (insect killer) because I suspect the root of the problem is mites. Also, I think he's ready for shedding -- or was some time ago -- and the hair didn't fall off, it just matted in. I spent a significant part of Sunday afternoon in front of the garage brushing and brushing and working out mats. Poor boy! He's still not completely mat free, but he's a lot better -- although in some places he's bald now.





I got a gallon bag of Andy hair from my brushings. It's cram packed. It's hardly prime fur, but I may do something with it. The bag underneath is the little bit I got from Genny -- see how much darker her fur is.





When I got done with Andy and went around back to put him in his hutch, Sam got up to some mischief. He figured out how to push his way into Genny's cage -- but when the door fell shut behind him, he couldn't get out! This is how I found him when I came back around the house to the garage.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Blogging Blessings

Today's good thing is this Blog. Okay, it may seem lame, but in the month since I've been doing this, I've really started to get a kick out it. I find myself challenged to think of a good blessing to share every day and I enjoy taking pictures to illustrate it. Even if no one reads it -- and hardly anyone does -- it helps me to focus on the positive.

Here's a picture of my basement workspace. Originally we finished the basement as a playroom for the girls when they were little -- but they never really used it that much. They preferred to be upstairs with me. Jeff never comes down here due to his allergies. So, a couple of years ago, I repainted it to suit myself (green and brown) and claimed it as my Studio/Law Office. Jeff christened it "Wool & Bull." It's full of my stash, my handspun, my knitting and spinning books, and my files and computer. It can be a little grim in the basement all the time, but it's my own space.

I've made some progress on the Potomatus socks. Now that I'm in the rhythm of the pattern, it's not that hard -- in fact, I enjoy it. Cookie A. is a sock genius. It's hard to see, but the pattern looks like overlapping curving scales. I'm about halfway through the leg portion of the sock.






Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Thing That Wouldn't Die

Today's good things are plants that fail to die. I have a scented geranium on my kitchen windowsill that has lived -- against all odds -- for three years. This morning I noticed its green leaves against the backdrop of frigid backyard and was thankful for a ray of cheer.





I usually only do well with succulents, like aloe and jade plants. They thrive on neglect and, as one orchid aficionado pointed out to me, if they die you can't really tell the difference.





This scented geranium has waxed and waned over the years, and even bloomed. Today, although it's looking a little sad, it's green and even has some shoots of new growth coming in at the bottom.





The weather is freezing cold today. I'm glad the rabbits are sheltered in the garage. Looks like it's too cold for Sam and he's ready to come back in!










Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Dollar Store

I love the dollar store. Where else can you walk in with a dollar (and 6 cents tax) and walk out with ANYTHING in the store? It makes you feel giddy with the possibilities.



Now you don't expect to find fine diamonds there -- and you should look closely if something claims to have fine diamonds -- but for pure cheap retail fun, you can't beat it.



Last night, after I dropped Kate off at her game, I dropped by our dollar store to get some birthday balloons for her. Three mylar birthday balloons for a dollar each! I also got 2 off-brand chapsticks for a dollar and a sparkly sequined hair tie. What a deal!



I may have looked a little odd perusing the aisles of off-brand merchandise in my full length mink coat (hey, we had just come from Jean Robert's Table), but I enjoyed my thrifty splurge.



On the knitting front, I started another pair of socks. These are a little more ambitious, a Cookie A. pattern called Pomatomus (I don't know where she gets these names, but she's an artist so we don't question it). I've had a little trouble getting started, so we'll see how it goes. The pattern calls for a yarn over at the beginning of a row. ??? I found this a little awkward. Oh well, for the time being I'll put my faith in Cookie.



I'm using the Wollmeise I snagged at Christmas time. I was dismayed with the resale prices on this yarn on eBay, so I went straight to the source and learned the system. Claudia -- the master yarn dyer -- posts her updated stock at random times on Fridays. If you're alert, you can log in and grab some before it disappears mere moments later. I was able to grab 4 skeins -- two for me and two for Lynne's Christmas present.



The skein I'm working with is black, white and pinky purple. Claudia is famous for her use of color and I must admit, it looks pretty good. So far, the yarn has been a little "splitty" but that's probably because I've been struggling with the pattern. We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

We Should GO There

"Where does it come from?"

"Columbia."

"We should go there!"



This is a favorite exchange around my house, taken from "The Fairly Oddparents" cartoon show. Cosmo, the dim fairy, has just learned about coffee and he asks his wife, Wanda, where it comes from.



Coffee is today's good thing. It's a soothing warm drink that perks up my morning. Thank goodness, I'm able to drink it again. In particular, I'm thankful for my Brookstone mug warmer that keeps my coffee warm all morning so I can sip it slowly and savor it. It's the little things like that that can make life pleasant.



I'm also thankful that I'm marginally able to eat cereal again. It still hurts a little, but I love my cereal. Total even makes a cereal with 10 grams of protein -- perfect for my high protein diet. With cereal, coffee and a protein shake, I'm almost back to my old routine of milk, cereal and coffee for breakfast. It's nice to have some normalcy back.



Otherwise, today is a little bittersweet. It's Kate's 18th birthday ... hard for me to believe. Both of our girls are so wonderful and we're so proud of them ... but it's hard to let go. With an 18-year-old and a 20-year-old, we have to face the fact that our child raising years are over. Next fall, Jeff and I will be back to a twosome. Make no mistake, Jeff is plenty of fun on his own, but it will be really different ... a new chapter.



Tonight, we're taking Kate to Jean Robert's Table for dinner before she has to cheer at a basketball game. She loves Jean Robert -- he's a rock star of the culinary world. It should be fun, but I'm a little melancholy.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Free Wheeling

Today's good thing is spinning. Spinning is a relaxing, soothing, and somewhat productive hobby (At least you can tell yourself that you're producing something). I put aside my spinning wheel for almost a year when I got my new job, but I recently picked it back up again. Last night, while watching the Superbowl, I finished the corriedale I started a few weeks ago. It's in three shades of green, from dark to very light. Although Judith McCuin would be horrified, I split the roving AND I'm going to Navaho ply it. Fortunately, Judith is unlikely to see the hat I'm planning to make from it.


Last night, while Ally was home from college with us, we celebrated Kate's 18th birthday (which is actually on Tuesday). I made a red velvet cake with cream cheese icing -- her favorite.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Bunnies and Bananas

This is the picture I took when I let Sam out this morning. There were frost flowers all over the storm door. Beautiful!





Today's good things are sweet bunnies who eat banana from your hand. I never would have guessed it, but when we got Andy the breeder told us that rabbits LOVE banana, the riper the better. It's like rabbit ice cream. This morning I saw that I had a bunch of past-their-prime bananas and so I cut off some pieces and took them to Andy and Genevieve in the garage. They were so excited! Genny, always the prim one, likes for you to hold it while she nibbles delicately. Andy, on the hand, takes a firm hold on the peel and yanks it from your hand. They really warm my heart with their fluffy goodness.

Genny looks a little shell-shocked in this picture. I guess she wasn't expecting the flash. That's Andy's gray fur behind her. Here's another picture of Genny looking more dignified last fall. Her fur shed from front to back, so the light hair is old and the black hair is new.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Just Sharing

I got a Flip Video for Christmas and I've been taking videos everywhere. The picture quality may not be too great, but the ease of use and portability make it more likely that I'll use it to capture moments that might otherwise have slipped by.

For example, last night Jeff and I attended the Villa Madonna Academy basketball game against Lloyd Memorial High School. We weren't there to see the game so much as to cheer on the cheerleaders. :)

videoYes, Kate is following in my footsteps and cheering. Isn't she adorable? (she's the one in the middle front)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Thank God for Responsible Teenagers

Last night, when it was raining and sleeting, Jeff and Ally got back from Florida. Even though he had been up most of the previous night, Jeff insisted on driving Ally back to college because of the bad weather -- and he didn't get home until about 3 am. Naturally, I didn't sleep well with him on the road and I was up and down all night.



This morning, I woke up at 7:35 -- five minutes AFTER the time that Kate is supposed to leave for high school. Jeff was still sleeping. I assumed that Kate was still sleeping too -- but, lo and behold, she wasn't in her bedroom, she wasn't downstairs, and the car was gone. There were signs of someone having had breakfast.

She got herself up and took herself to school without waking us. What a great kid!!!